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Spotify & Such
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    Laura
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    Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:54 am

    Don't know if this topic should be in Off-Course or not because it's not strictly metal related....but it most certainly is music related. I know the topic of digital music, downloading (legal & illegal) and so on is old news...but I've rethinking it all lately - especially since I recently started using Spotify (which I love by the way).

    I was also prompted to write this after some recent conversations I've had with my daughters and their friends (13-15 years old). In sum, not a one of them has any interest in owning a physical cd. Many buy at least some music from iTunes, but they get the lion's share of their music (for free legally) from sites like Spotify, Yahoo Music, Pandora, Youtube & others. The other thing that they all said - is that the idea of "the album" doesn't hold major (or sometimes, any) interest for them - rather they are much more into listening to, sharing, and discussing particular songs amongst themselves.

    Again, this is not a new topic and all of this has been a long time coming...but it still makes me wonder about how the artists, the music, the various business models, and the money is all affected by this now and far down the road.

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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by KevinP » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:54 pm

    Metalheads and metal albums are not "hits" or "singles driven". So I assume the kiddies are not into metal?

    I like to listen to a whole album, never understood the whole "I only like this song" thing :mrgreen:
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Metalwrath » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:31 pm

    Owning physical copies of albums is becomeing a thing of the past.You have a newer generation of music listeners and a lot of these people only staerted really geting into music over maybe the last 10 years.The older audience will still probably purchase physical copies of albums of bands now and then where the money is available.
    The price of cd's just hasn't dropped enough.It costs very little to make these albums and there is just no need for 'the middle man' anymore.
    Along with the fact that there are just too many bands out there now.Everyone who likes music seems to think they should start a band these days.I can even look at my local metal scene and see how oversaturated it is with shit bands.Too many bands competing with each other.all the shit ones are fucking over the good bands by dragging as many friends as possible out to a gig make their shit band look better than the good bands etc.

    In some way or another you will see physical copies come back but it will be a form of hipsterism.We're experiencing a bit of it at the moment with the small tape fad thats going on.although that won't last very long.

    A lot of the current generation of bands getting most of the tours didn't get well known through gigs like bands used to do.They've done it through the internet,be it through stupid facebook campaigns,their albums being shared on the internet or from youtube videos.A lot of them haven't become so popular from selling albums.

    And as much as people want to argue about this.Here is one simple fact.Yes there are some people who 'steal' the albums because now they have the choice over paying but here's the reality.
    Most of the people who downloaded the albums probably would have never bought their albums in the first place.There's too much misconception about downloading being the main issue for large retail outlets going broke over cd sales.The real issue that's being overlooked is competitive pricing.the fact that people are going to buy an album online opposed to splashing out an extra 5 euro+ for nothing.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by doomguy » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:42 am

    I just listen to whatever's on the radio.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:05 am

    KevinP wrote:Metalheads and metal albums are not "hits" or "singles driven". So I assume the kiddies are not into metal?

    I like to listen to a whole album, never understood the whole "I only like this song" thing :mrgreen:


    Ha, no - the kids don't listen to "metal" - but neither did I at that age and I still spent a lot of money (in relative terms for my age and the era) on physical music (45s & LPs) - but of course that was essentially the only way you could listen to your favorite songs and artists over and over. Well, one could make a cassette tape from a friend's or even the local public library's copy of an album, or be lucky and tape something off the radio, but that was kind of a pain and I just always ended up buying my own copy of a 45 or an LP of what I really wanted.

    So what a person is listening to - be it metal or pop - is not relevant in my view re this discussion - but rather the fact that for a lot of people (and perhaps the majority of the younger generation, say 18 & under), the physical thing (cd for the most part nowadays) has completely lost any meaning & interest for them. I agree with something Pete said ...about how there will perhaps always be some "types" (hipsters to traditionalists) who will value the physical object or artifact - whether it's an LP or other special release with extra goodies (like the action figure that came with the recent Amon Amarth album! :P :ugeek:) - but how many people are there in that category any more?

    And surprise, surprise - I count myself among those people who have completely lost interest in the physical object. I know you and many others still buy a lot of cds - but I'm going to assume you are part of a continually dwindling group.

    Re the singles vs albums topic - I"ll write on that later. :P
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by soundcurve » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:36 pm

    Metalwrath wrote:We're experiencing a bit of it at the moment with the small tape fad thats going on.although that won't last very long.


    Serious, what the fuck is that about. "Let's go back to a inferior media". Esh.

    Well Kevin and Metalwarth nailed some of what I'd add.

    Most people that primarily go for the free stream don't care about sound quality either as they are just seeking that pop hook. It is a area as a musician and music lover I'd sell but I know the market for audiophiles is small and small interest doesn't make money.

    The taste in music has a lot to do with it too. Be it jazz, metal, classical, etc. When you get deeper into sub genres you find people that listen outta love and want to nurture. Pop is a different beast.

    I use free spotify and think it is great to spot check a band or recommendation. I like the fact that amazon now does a "autorip" feature where you buy the CD you get the mp3s right away. I doubt this will save physical media but still think it is a great deal /idea.

    My feeling of where the metal music industry is heading (if not there now) would be of one of performing arts. The CD acts as the blueprint or time capsule of where the band was at that time and like "Cirque du Soleil" is for sale at the merch table.

    regarding the digital age: There were pros to record labels. They filter a lot of shit music. Many safe and stable people can pump out mediocrity now. Rarely does great art come from complacency imo. It is a big con to the digital age in giving too many a voice. Music should not be democracy, haha.

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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:56 pm

    So, I asked "thoughts?" in the opening post and there are many good and interesting ones that followed. My mind is feeling a bit muddy today, so not up to a big response at the moment....but, I do have an open question regarding sound quality. (targeted toward the audiophile types I suppose). Can anyone here actually hear a difference when they listen to an mp3 vs. cd vs. lp? As I said earlier, I've lost interest in owning physical copies (in the form of cds particularly), so when I buy something, I buy it from iTunes. I don't notice any difference in sound, but maybe that's just me.

    Also re Spotify & similar sites where one can listen to say - a band's entire discography anytime anywhere* on demand - that is just nothing short of revolutionary to my former 70s teen mind. :P Especially if it's a band who is new to me & has many releases to their credit. I consider myself a pretty fair & conscientious person and I have a fair amount of disposable income to spend on music - but I'm going to be honest - that in many cases, I'm not going to spend $100 for ten albums from a band who is new to me - will I buy some and ultimately buy all from an artist who I'm really crazy about? Perhaps, and I have done that.

    * I'm paying a nominal monthly fee for Spotify premium which gives me access on my iPhone - the weird part about it is that the app even looks like iTunes on my phone - wow!
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by soundcurve » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:53 pm

    Laura wrote:Can anyone here actually hear a difference when they listen to an mp3 vs. cd vs. lp?


    Yes. Though all of this gets to a point of limitations on the human ear.

    It isn't that big of a deal from the stuff you are getting from apple or amazon. They usual provide decent high quality VBR stuff / constant 320kbit/s mp3s which is spiting hairs if you want to talk about not getting full fidelity. You aren't but it is up to the user how anal they are going to get about the sound.

    I tend to hear the highs cutting and wobble a bit (primarily in the high hat) and bass clarity loss in low quality compressed formats.

    It is true that LPs have the possibility to sound better than digital formats but LPs are very inconsistent with reproduction. I normally buy LPs for the art. Plus depending on the gram and speed you might be getting up often to change sides, ha.

    I still prefer CDs if I am going for high quality audio. There is newer technology/formats out there but the difference for me isn't enough for metal.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:51 am

    ^^^ thanks for the opinion, Mike....like I said - I don't (think I) hear a difference between a mp3 & cd....but then again the majority of the time I listen to music on my iPhone with ear plugs (like now!), so that's my main point of reference these days.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by ShoreSlayer » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:58 pm

    Hey Laura

    Something worth wrapping one's head around regarding mp3z goes something like this:

    When we rip songs directly from a cd, they're originally in WAVE (or .wav) format which is considered a "LOSSLESS" format. Ideally, a wav file will sound as pure and true on your PC or music player as it would directly from the CD.

    Once we compress the wav file into an mp3 (or any of a number of different formats), there is a typically some degradation of sound quality. Some noticeable, some less so. The benefit is that mp3z and other compressed files take up much less room and allow us to fill our devices with thousands of songs as opposed to merely hundreds.

    One of the choices that face anyone when converting from wav to mp3 is what's known as the "BITRATE". This is usually expressed in terms of kbps or kilobytes per second. Some common bitrates include 320, 256, 190, 128 and (very rarely) 64 and lower. The higher the bitrate, the greater the size AND quality of the file. And, of course, the reverse is true as well. The lower the bitrate, the smaller the file and the lower the quality.

    For my own collection and the files I store on my hard drives, I always compress my music to 320 kbps. This is pretty close to perfect and rarely, if ever, results in any audible degradation in sound. However, in order to fit more music on my iPhone, I tend to check a convenient option they've included in iTues which allows users to automatically convert all songs to 128 kbps as they're being added to the device. 128 kbps DOES have some audible degradation at times but not so much that it's really too annoying or noticeable most but if one were planning to plug their iDevice into a PA system or use it to play music for any kind of gathering where people are really gonna be tuned into the music, I would recommend playing only 320 kbps stuff.

    If I had more time atm, I'd encode something at 64 kbps so you could hear a sample of what over-compressed music sounds like. Maybe later. Hope that's a bit helpful ;)

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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:31 pm

    ^^^ aside from the fact that my eyes glazed over a bit reading all the techy talk :P - thanks for writing that! It answered some of my questions for sure.

    This discussion made me think about something else - I remember how huge and heavy (compared to what most people have today) my original Advent stereo speakers were that I bought before I left for college in 1979...between those and all those stereo components (of course including the all important turntable!)...not to mention the crates of lps most college kids (including myself) carted back & forth like a ritual every fall to one's dorm or apartment....all that stuff took up like half of your or your parent's car. :lol: (and my parents had a station wagon at that time!)

    Now, all some college kid leaving home for the first time needs is their iPod, iPhone, laptop, or whatever compact device and some small good quality speakers, Bose player, or whatever, etc. and voila....the world of music and great sound. So awesome! Haha - this still amazes me!!
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by doomguy » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:30 pm

    I'm like Kevin, when I listen to music, I like to listen to a whole album, and very rarely skip songs or just listen to the ones I like. On my mp3 player I don't have any random songs, or playlists, just full albums. And if I don't listen to the entire album, at least I listen to it from the start until whatever point I decide to stop it and listen to something else.

    And Metalwrath is right. Most people who do downloading, never intend on buying the album anyway, so I don't think it's really hurting the industry as much as people think. I don't even think bands really make that much money from the sale of a CD anyway.. something like 6%? Maybe 20 or 50 cents? There's the producers, distributors, retailers, manufacturing, packaging and promotional costs etc etc all taking cuts. So unless you're a huge band and sell millions of records, I don't think the loss is very significant, and most bands probably make more money from touring. And if anything, the internet has helped promote bands, not kill the music industry. Free promotion through MySpace Music, Facebook, YouTube, Last FM, and other sites, even free downloads. I've discovered many bands by downloading their albums and becoming a fan then going out and buying them.

    As for the physical object, I do still like to own a physical copy of a CD, there's something special about holding the thing in your hands, looking through the nice artwork, reading the lyrics. But because of the cost of CDs and the increasing availability of free downloads, I mostly (but not always) buy CDs if they come as "special editions" i.e with bonus disc with extra material, live DVD, documentaries with making of album and so on, or limited box sets and collectors editions. And I NEVER buy CDs from retail stores here anymore, they're way too expensive, like $40 for a CD/DVD set when I can get the same thing on ebay for $25.. and that's including shipping and after the currency conversion rates. It's ridiculous, retailers are killing the industry, not the internet!!! But you're right, Laura, in your observation that many teens these days have no value in owning the actual CDs, many are quite content with playing crappy audio quality through their cellphones.

    Now regarding sound quality. I can't tell the difference at all between 320kbps mp3 and CDs, when I download music I do like to go for the 320kbps, of course there's some compression, but the loss in quality, if any, is soooooo little that you've got to be extremely nit-picky or have 100% perfect ears to even notice it. There are so many variables that add to the musics audio quality though.. the speakers, audio player etc, so I mean if you're playing a CD or 320kbps mp3s through cheap or budget devices they're gonna sound crap anyway. CD vs. LP, personally I prefer vinyl, I love the sound quality, it's more authentic and not so digitalised, if you know what I mean. But thats my opinion.

    Anyway, I'm not an expert on this stuff, so try not to be too critical :P Those are just my thoughts.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:54 am

    Thanks, Conrad for all that input....between you and the other posters - it's clear how many issues there are....physical vs. digital, free vs. paid, the music biz/artist compensation/cost of cds, generational differences, sound quality, and many more.

    What I was thinking about more this morning was the physical vs digital idea because I find it really interesting, in addition to some of points a few of you raised. Like Conrad - you said that you still like the idea of holding the thing (cd) in your hand, looking at the artwork, and so on. And Mike - you mentioned buying lps mainly for the artwork - so, again it's the appeal of the object itself (in addition of course the music it contains). I understand that completely because my friends & I (when we were in our teens & 20s) loved sitting around endlessly listening to our lps while studying them intently :P :ugeek: - the artwork, the pictures of the band (if there were any),reading the lyrics, and so on. And the large lp format was perfect for that - fold out double ablums were the best!

    Haha - so because of my multi-year love affair with the lp :P , I remember being very resistant when the cd format became available in the 80s. I continued to buy & play my lps exclusively until my sister & brother-in-law bought us a cd player for a wedding gift in 1989 (as well as two cd's - the recently released debut albulm by The Stone Roses and U2's Joshua Tree from 1987 (I was a very early fan of U2 going back to seeing them on their 2nd US tour in 1982). As much as I loved the convenience of cd's right away, I guess I never embraced the format as a physical object (compared to lps). Which ultimately led me up to a few years ago, when I gave up buying cd's altogether and started buying from iTunes and so on exclusively. I've even gone as far as selling quite a few cds. Well, and at this stage in my life, I highly doubt I'd start buying lps ever again, even though artists like Steven Wilson are really into producing high quality, special edition lps, and that would be kinda cool. But, for now at least, buying lps (as cool as they are) is pretty low on my spending priority list. Ha - plus, I'd have to buy a new turntable. :beerwink:
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by doomguy » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:14 pm

    Yeah, for me CDs is purely just the appeal of the object, that's why mentioned I only buy CDs if there's an incentive, like if it comes with a bonus DVD I can watch, or if it's really my favourite band, or a special/collectors edition. I very rarely listen to the CDs I buy though, because I listen to all my music through my computer, even when I buy a CD i'll most likely download a good quality mp3 of it, or rip the CD to my computer myself, and because I can't tell the difference between 320kbps mp3 and CD audio anyway, it works for me. It's just easier for me to organise and find my music on the PC because it automatically organises them alphabetically, so I don't have to sift through hundreds of CDs just to find the ONE album I want to listen to. But I don't use iTunes or anything like that, I just locate what I want to listen to with VLC and open the entire album with that. I'll never buy digital music though, if I'm gonna pay for music I want to be able to have something I can hold, something nice to look at. Digital music is freely available to download, if I'm gonna pay for it, I might as well go for the physical object.

    Vinyl, i've never owned any, and don't own a record player. No good reason, I guess maybe just because they're harder to find, and more expensive. But I have recently been considering investing in a good record player, amp and speakers, because a lot of bands lately are re-releasing, or releasing new albums on vinyl, since polls conducted recently show that a lot of people are still interested in buying them. A couple friends of mine have a lot of them though, and I listen to them when I'm at their place, they sound great! I very much prefer vinyl sound to the CD.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:38 am

    Conrad wrote:....But I don't use iTunes or anything like that, I just locate what I want to listen to with VLC and open the entire album with that. I'll never buy digital music though, if I'm gonna pay for music I want to be able to have something I can hold, something nice to look at. Digital music is freely available to download, if I'm gonna pay for it, I might as well go for the physical object.


    Ding, ding, ding!! You hit one of the biggest issues/quandaries for me at the moment and brings me back to Spotify specifically. Since the lion's share of the time I listen to music is on my iPhone on the way back and forth to work or at work (when I 'm working in the non-public areas), I have several thousand songs on my iTunes (I've got a 64 gig phone), and now I have the Spotify app downloaded on my phone where I can call up esentially anything on demand - any genre, any album - there have only been a few cases so far where something I wanted wasn't on there. For example, Michael D and I were talking about the band Foreigner recently - an old favorite and a band I've spent money on already so to speak by owning some lps back in the day, as well as paying to see them live a few times. So, now I've got access to their entire discography on my phone legally and essentially for free (I do pay $10 a month to have Spotify mobile device access 24/7.) Also, I can add any of that music to a playlist to be available offline, so essentially it's residing there on my iPhone just like all those $9.99 albums I bought on iTunes. :shock:

    I very much agree with something Metalwrath Peter said - that much (most?) of the music that people download for free is not what they would buy in physical format (for $$$). This is definitely true for me in the aforementioned Foreigner case, since at this point in time, I wouldn't spend $100-$200 on several Foreigner albums in any format (lps, cds, or iTunes versions), but it sure as hell is awesome to be able to listen to their entire discography on Spotify! :P When a girlfriend of one of our nephews was telling me about Spotify last Thanksgiving, I was like "really? That sounds too good to be true." :P

    Haha, I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store. But, then - it gets back to the idea of what's fair, compensation for artists and all that...and that's where I feel a bit guilty. :oops: :beerwink: Maybe I''m just too old school and the memory of paying for everything I wanted music-wise ("on-demand") is a firmly imprinted concept in my old noggin. ;)
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by Laura » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:15 pm

    The thread that Blumpkin just started about hating digipacks made me think about physical vs. digital formats and this thread. As I said earlier here - I have zero interest in buying physical music anymore....as in cds, lps, whatever. And now that I've got Spotify 24/7 on my phone (which has 99.99999999% of anything I want to listen to), I may never "buy" music again. I do pay a nominal monthly fee to have the Spotify mobile access, but when I say never "buy" music again - I mean no more cds (had already pretty much given that up for at least a few years ago), no more iTunes.

    Damn!! :shock: Does that make me a totally rotten person for "not supporting the artists" anymore? On a few rare occasions this year, I did spend the 10 bucks (on iTunes) for a few new albums that weren't on Spotify right away...the new ones by Kvelertak & Steven Wilson. But other than that, nope. The new Tesseract was on Spotify the day it was released in U.S.
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    Re: Spotify & Such

    by X-Thor » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:56 pm

    Laura, it's very nice of you to answer almost every post individually. Wow.

    I like owning albums. Last year I bought maybe 60 physical CDs. I like to look at the art and stuff... But I guess it's also a lot of consumerism, because what I like most is the idea that the album is MINE. Sure, that can be true for a downloaded .mp3 or whatnot, but maybe I started growing up before the internet exploded and, thus, feel physical albums to be more "real" than a bunch of 0s and 1s in cyberspace... :oops:
    70K 2013 SURVIVOR (Cabin 2120)
    70K 2014 SURVIVOR (Cabin 2565)

    In perpetual post-cruise depression/pre-cruise anxiety.

    Doing my best to be there for 2015.
    --
    Wishlist: Blind Guardian and Saurom. Will probably like 90%+ of the bands onbroad anyway.
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